Rizing Tide, a foundation started by WebPT co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer Heidi Jannenga, has announced its first cohort of scholarship recipients who will be awarded designed to help students from underrepresented communities become physical therapists.
The foundation selected three BIPOC graduate students to receive scholarships of up to $14,000 to help fund their continuing education toward becoming licensed physical therapists. The candidates are all enrolled in Doctor of Physical Therapy programs in the U.S. Additionally, two Crest ‘Rizing Star’ winners were chosen as well, and are receiving partial scholarships.
The new scholarship program was announced earlier this year. Candidates had to submit their applications by Aug. 20.
Jannenga first started the program after she noticed a major lack of diversity in the physical therapy workforce. For example, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, 49.95% fewer BIPOC applicants who use Physical Therapist Application Service are accepted into a program compared to their white counterparts.
“It’s my sincere hope that Rizing Tide and our initial cohort of scholarship winners will be the start of a growing community dedicated to bringing awareness to this issue in PT, and the beginning of institutional change,” Jannenga said in a statement earlier this year.
Jannenga suspected that lack of funds contributed to the disparity between BIPOC students and white students. She wanted to find a way to reduce the number of BIPOC students who don’t pursue the continued education necessary to become a physical therapist. On average, students could come out of post graduate school with at least $100,000 debt.
Jannenga chose $14,000 as the scholarship amount because it’s about half the cost of an average PT program. Awardees can use the money to subsidize their tuition, room and board, books or fees for the school year. The students also have the opportunity to renew their scholarship until graduation.
Recipients of the Rizing Tide Foundation Crest scholarship include:
- Ricardo Locci, from Ohio, who is attending Northwestern University
- Elisha Li, from Illinois, who will be attending Washington University in St. Louis
- Ruth Morales-Flores, from Illinois, who is attending Northwestern University
Recipients of the Rizing Tide Foundation Crest “Rizing Star” scholarship include:
- Jacqueline Hua, from New Jersey, who is attending Northwestern University
- Tyrell McGee, from Colorado, who is attending Regis University
“We received so many exceptional applications for our Crest scholarships, validating the industry need and the Rizing Tide mission,” Jannenga said. “The applicant pool was fiercely competitive and we are thrilled to award this distinctive class of inaugural Crest scholars to these outstanding and talented future therapists. They represent the next generation of industry leaders and we couldn’t be more thrilled to support them in the completion of their academic endeavors.”